The University of Utah
Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah

Astronomy Day 2012

Professional and amateur astronomers from across the world will gather to celebrate Astronomy Day on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

Clark Planetarium & the University of Utah will be hosting a series of events during the day and the Salt Lake Astronomical Society (SLAS) features a star party at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex that evening.

Events start at 12:30 p.m. with half price admission to any show in the Hansen Dome Theatre until 6:45 p.m. Discounted show tickets will be available at the ticket window on the day of the event.

Clark Planetarium’s education department, Salt Lake County Library Services,University of Utah Physics & Astronomy and SLAS will provide free hands on demonstrations and activities at the planetarium from 1 – 4 p.m. with a chance win a free telescope courtesy of Celestron.

Please see below for a complete schedule of Astronomy Day events.

    Show Schedule:

    • 12:30 p.m. Perfect Little Planet
    • 1:30 p.m. Ultimate Universe
    • 2:30 p.m. Perfect Little Planet
    • 3:30 p.m. Black Holes
    • 4:30 p.m. Telescope and observing presentation by Mike Murray
    • 5:30 p.m. Perfect Little Planet
    • 6:45 p.m. Night Vision

    Free Activities:

      More information regarding the events at the Clark Planetarium is available here.


      Bill Pandit Thesis Defense 04/20/12

      Thesis Defense

      Bill Pandit

      Friday, April 20, 2012
      3:30pm (334 JFB)

      Title: Ultrafast Photophysics of pi-Conjugated Polymers for Organic Photovoltaic Applications"


      In this work we used the pump and probe photomodulation (PM) spectroscopy technique to measure the transient excitation dynamics in various pi- conjugated polymers (PCPs) films and blends with appropriate molecular acceptors. Using two different ultrafast laser systems, we extended the PM spectrum to cover a broad spectral range from 0.25 – 2.5 eV in the time domain from 100 fs to 1 ns with 150 fs time resolution. We also used continuous wave (CW) photomodulation spectroscopy, photoluminescence, electro-absorption, doping-induced absorption, and x-ray diffraction to study the photoexcitations and doping induced states, as well as other optical properties of PCPs and polymer donor-fullerene acceptor blends. In addition to these measurements, we also fabricated organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cell devices based on poly(3-hexyl-thiophene) [P3HT]/fullerene [PCBM] blend and estimated their power conversion efficiency (PCE) in relation to the optical studies. In (1.2:1) weight ratio of P3HT/PCBM blend that shows maximum donor (D) and acceptor (A) domain separation we found that although the intrachain excitons in the polymer domains decay within ~10 ps, no charge polarons are generated at their expense. Instead there is a built-up of charge-transfer (CT) excitons at the D-A interfaces, which may dissociate into separated ‘free’ polarons in the D and A domains at a later time. Although the CT excitons are photogenerated much faster in D-A blends with a smaller domain size (such as in P3HT with random order), their dissociation is less efficient because of larger binding energy. Our results elucidate the charge photogeneration mechanism in D-A blends, and unravel the important role of the binding energy in generating ‘free’ charge polarons.

      We also studied the photophysics of a low band gap polymer, namely poly-thienophene-benzodithiophene (PTB7) film and its blend with acceptor [6,6] phenyl C71 butyric acid methyl ester [PC71BM]. In the CW PM spectrum of PTB7/PC71BM blend, clear signatures of polarons are observed. Whereas PA bands related to triplet excitons and trapped polarons are observed in the PM spectrum of pristine PTB7 film. The transient ultrafast PA of PTB7 is dominated by a singlet exciton band at ~0.95 eV. In the transient ultrafast PA spectrum of PTB7/PC71BM blend we found singlet exciton, charge transfer exciton and a polaron band that are generated simultaneously; this is different from the transient PM spectrum of P3HT/PCBM blend. We also found that the charge transfer exciton in PTB7/PC71BM dissociates faster than in P3HT/PCBM blends. This may be one of the reasons for getting higher PCE of ~7.4 % in the PTB7/PC71BM based solar cells compared to PCE ~4 % in P3HT/PCBM based solar cells.

      [1] “Two-step charge photogeneration dynamics in polymer/fullerene blends for photovoltaic applications”
      Bill Pandit*, Sanjeev Singh*, Tek. P. Basel, & Z. V. Vardeny, under review in Phys. Rev. B.* equal contributions.

      [2] “Photoexcitation dynamics in Poly [[4,8-bis[(2-ethylhexyl)oxy] benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b']dithiophene-2,6-diyl][3-fluoro-2-[(2-ethylhexyl)carbonyl]thieno[3,4-b]thiophenediyl] (PTB7) and its fullerene blend”
      Bill Pandit, Tek. P. Basel, Ella Olejnik, Uyen Hyunh & Z. V. Vardeny, in preparation for Phys. Rev. B.

      [3] “Ultrafast optical studies of ordered poly (3-thienylene-vinylene) films”
      E. Olejnik, B. Pandit, T. Basel, E. Lafalce, C.-X Sheng, C. Zhang, X. Jiang, & Z. V. Vardeny, under review in Phys. Rev. B.

      [4] “Photoexcitation dynamics in isotope exchanged DOO-PPV”
      Ella Olejnik, Bill Pandit, Tek Basel & Z. V. Vardeny, submitted to Appl. Phys. Lett.

      [5] “Photoexcitation dynamics in polythiophene/fullerene blends for photovoltaic applications”
      C.-X. Sheng, T. Basel, B. Pandit & Z. V. Vardeny, Organic Electronics 13, 1031 (2012).

      [6] “Evidence for excimer photoexcitations in an ordered pi – conjugated polymer film”
      K. Aryanpour, C-X. Sheng, E. Olejnik, B. Pandit, D. Psiachos, S. Mazumdar, & Z. V. Vardeny, Phys. Rev. B 83,155124 (2011).


      RECON: Self-Gated Cardiac Perfusion MRI: Edward DiBella

      Self-Gated Cardiac Perfusion MRI by Edward DiBella

      Thursday Apr. 19, 2:00-2:45pm,
      INSCC Large Conference Room

      RECON (UCAIR REsearch CONnections) provides a scientific forum for Ph.D.–level exchange of ideas, concepts, and research of broad interest in medical imaging.  Meeting 2-3 times monthly, 30 min. presentations are given by UCAIR faculty, postdocs, collaborators, and late-stage graduate students.  Topics will range broadly across medical imaging and the related sciences, and should include general-interest content that is not modality-specific.  The emphasis is on physics and engineering research, with some translational clinical components; more clinically-oriented presentations can be found at the monthly UCAIR Seminar held at SOM Classroom A/B.  Special-interest topics that delve deeper into a specific modality, problem, or theory will also be occasionally presented. RECON attendees are asked to request special-interest topics that would be appealing to a wide audience.  Everyone with an interest in medical imaging, small animal imaging, image processing, or just science in general is invited to attend (attendance by UCAIR students and trainees is mandatory).  Each RECON will begin with a few minutes of general UCAIR announcements and accolades, etc.; and coffee-&-bagel snacks will be provided.

      More info...


      Dustin Winslow Thesis Defense 03/12/12

      Thesis Defense

      Dustin Winslow

      Thursday, March 12, 2012
      3:00pm (334 JFB)

      Title: Atomic Scale Study of Dielectric Trap States Using Single Electron Tunneling Force Spectroscopy


      The rapid advancement of technology has led to increasingly faster and smaller solid state devices. One reason for this rapid development is the dedicated effort to characterize the defects in the dielectric materials used in solid state electronics. However there are no techniques which allow for characterization of localized electron and hole trap states, in completely nonconducting films, with atomic scale spatial resolution. This talk will focus on the force detected tunneling techniques developed in the Williams lab over the last decade, with an emphasis on the recently developed single electron tunneling force spectroscopy (SETFS) technique. The density of localized trap states in SiO2, Si3N4 and HfO2 measured using SETFS will be compared to experimental results and theoretically predicted values found in the literature. The SETFS results from measurements made on each of these films is in good agreement with standard techniques. However, several states have been characterized that have only been theoretically predicted or are not identified in the literature. Finally, evidence of mobile charge in HfO2 will be presented and a possible mechanism proposed to explain the irreversible nature of the surface charging.


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